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Net neutrality could hamper new mobile services, Nokia CEO says

New net neutrality rules just established in the U.S. may face a cool reception here at Mobile World Congress, where carriers are prime customers. Nokia’s CEO took an early shot on Sunday night.“There are some services that simply require a different level of connectivity and a different level of service,” Rajeev Suri said at a press conference on the eve of MWC. Those include self-driving cars and remote home health care, which are too important to rely on “best-effort” networks, Suri said.He’s also worried about premium services to consumers: “You just need to be able to differentiate the quality of service for higher-paying consumers,” Suri said. Otherwise, those customers may feel discriminated against, he said.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Net neutrality could hamper new mobile services, Nokia CEO says

New net neutrality rules just established in the U.S. may face a cool reception here at Mobile World Congress, where carriers are prime customers. Nokia’s CEO took an early shot on Sunday night. “There are some services that simply require a different level of connectivity and a different level of service,” Rajeev Suri said at a press conference on the eve of MWC. Those include self-driving cars and remote home health care, which are too important to rely on “best-effort” networks, Suri said. He’s also worried about premium services to consumers: “You just need to be able to differentiate the quality of service for higher-paying consumers,” Suri said. Otherwise, those customers may feel discriminated against, he said.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Samsung hopes better looks, more power will make the Galaxy S6 a winner

Using a mixture of metal and glass, Samsung Electronics has found its smartphone mojo again with the launch of the Galaxy S6 and the S6 edge, but the new, more premium design has a few drawbacks. After many teasers and leaks, Samsung finally launched its two new flagship smartphones on Sunday evening at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It’s no surprise that the vendor worked hard to drum up advance publicity, because it badly needs a hit. The biggest change with the Galaxy S6 and the S6 edge is Samsung’s choice of materials. The regular S6 trades the plastic of previous models for a metal frame and glass on the back. The edge model doesn’t have exactly the same frame, since the screen curves around both edges of the device.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Samsung to launch mobile payments in challenge to Google, Apple

The world’s biggest maker of Android phones launched a major challenge to Google Wallet on Sunday, saying it will soon launch a rival phone-based payment system.Samsung Pay will appear first in the summer in the U.S.—later in other markets—and will allow consumers to make tap-and-go payments with a smartphone. It is being introduced as Google is moving to strengthen its position in the mobile payments market to better compete with Apple Pay.The system will first be available on the Galaxy S6, Samsung’s flagship smartphone that was launched on Sunday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It will rely on the contactless NFC payment infrastructure already used by competitors including Google Wallet and Apple Pay.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Samsung to launch mobile payments in challenge to Google, Apple

The world’s biggest maker of Android phones launched a major challenge to Google Wallet on Sunday, saying it will soon launch a rival phone-based payment system. Samsung Pay will appear first in the summer in the U.S.—later in other markets—and will allow consumers to make tap-and-go payments with a smartphone. It is being introduced as Google is moving to strengthen its position in the mobile payments market to better compete with Apple Pay. The system will first be available on the Galaxy S6, Samsung’s flagship smartphone that was launched on Sunday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It will rely on the contactless NFC payment infrastructure already used by competitors including Google Wallet and Apple Pay.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

YO! This messaging app has a lot more to say for itself, even offline

Mobile World Congress is not the best place to launch a new messaging app: With thousands of tech-savvy visitors in Barcelona, many of them toting multiple connected devices, public wireless and Wi-Fi networks quickly become so saturated that it’s difficult to send a message via Internet, even a brief “Yo,” to a nearby colleague.But that Yo is so last year. The app that could only send one word still sent every message to a central server before bouncing it over to its destination.This year showgoers will be able to try out a new Android app, called YO!, that can send text messages, photos and videos over Wi-Fi to other users nearby without any Internet connection whatsoever, making it a true peer-to-peer messaging app. And as long as they’re prepared to disable certain security settings on their phone, they won’t even need to log on to the Play store to get it: Anyone with YO! installed on their phone can share it with other would-be users over Bluetooth.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

YO! This messaging app has a lot more to say for itself, even offline

Mobile World Congress is not the best place to launch a new messaging app: With thousands of tech-savvy visitors in Barcelona, many of them toting multiple connected devices, public wireless and Wi-Fi networks quickly become so saturated that it’s difficult to send a message via Internet, even a brief “Yo,” to a nearby colleague. But that Yo is so last year. The app that could only send one word still sent every message to a central server before bouncing it over to its destination.+ See our full coverage of MWC 2015 + This year showgoers will be able to try out a new Android app, called YO!, that can send text messages, photos and videos over Wi-Fi to other users nearby without any Internet connection whatsoever, making it a true peer-to-peer messaging app. And as long as they’re prepared to disable certain security settings on their phone, they won’t even need to log on to the Play store to get it: Anyone with YO! installed on their phone can share it with other would-be users over Bluetooth.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Firefox OS coming to US, developed markets in 2016

Firefox OS, the smartphone operating system from Mozilla targeted at low-cost smartphones in emerging markets, is coming to more developed markets.A new project with carriers in the U.S., Japan, South Korea and Spain will see high-spec phones developed for release in 2016. But rather than challenging Android and iOS head on, the project will target something that’s been largely out of fashion in recent years: flip phones and sliders.Andreas Gal, chief technology officer at Mozilla, said some customers like the older form factors but choosing them often means being stuck with an old operating system that has none of the flexibility of a modern smartphone OS.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Firefox OS to help Orange boost smartphone use in Africa

Orange is hoping a sub-US$40 bundle of a Firefox OS smartphone with calls, messages and data will help boost smartphone usage in Africa and the Middle East.On the same day that Samsung Electronics and HTC are announcing new flagship models, Orange is launching a smartphone at the other end of the spectrum. The Klif is a 3G smartphone based on Mozilla’s Firefox OS platform. It has a 3.5-inch screen and a dual-core processor from MediaTek.Firefox OS is an open source platform built around applications and a user interface written in HTML5, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and JavaScript, and Mozilla Foundation is pitching it as a cheaper and more open alternative to Android and iOS. Orange says it was the only platform to meet its requirements on both price and a good user experience. For now, Android can’t get quite as low, according to Orange.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

ZTE’s Grand S3 smartphone scans eyes for authentication

ZTE is taking biometric authentication in a new direction with its Grand S3 smartphone, which lets users log into their phones with eye scanning.By including fingerprint recognition on its iPhones, Apple helped legitimize biometric authentication for phones. But fingerprints aren’t the only thing that can be used to authenticate, so in collaboration with EyeVerify, ZTE has integrated retina scanning technology in the customized front camera of the new Grand S3.For now, the Eyeprint ID feature only controls log-in, but ZTE has plans to expand the feature to work with apps. The underlying technology works by identifying unique vein patterns in the human eye. It doesn’t take a picture, but shoots a short video to ensure the right person is trying to access the phone.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Acer going all in with Windows 10 smartphones

Acer didn’t embrace Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 OS for smartphones, but it’s really warming up to Windows 10.The Taiwanese company plans to launch more Windows 10 smartphones as it looks to bring a consistent user experience across its phones, tablets and PCs, said Wahid Razali, marketing manager for Acer in Europe, at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona. Unlike its predecessor, the new OS makes it easier to share content and use the same applications across the range of Windows devices.Acer has mainly offered Android smartphones in the past, but Windows 10 has made it rethink that strategy. It’s one of the only PC makers that can offer Windows on tablets, laptops and smartphones, which makes adoption of the OS on handsets an easy decision, Razali said.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

New products of the week 03.02.2015

New products of the weekOur roundup of intriguing new products. Read how to submit an entry to Network World's products of the week slideshow.Transporter 15 and 30 appliances Key features: Private cloud file sync and share appliances that have been designed to deliver critical business-class file sharing features, performance and capacity to small businesses, departments and remote offices. More info.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

HTC One M9 revealed ahead of official launch

HTC’s new flagship Android smartphone, the One M9, has been revealed by a U.S. retailer hours before its expected launch at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.Best Buy is listing a 32GB version of the handset for use on AT&T’s 4G LTE network in the U.S. for US$650.It says the phone is based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor running at 2GHz and Google’s Android 5.0 operating system, popularly known as “Lollipop.” It has a 5-inch screen with 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution, a 20-megapixel front-facing camera and a 4-megapixel rear camera.The phone is one of a number of new handsets being launched at the event, which is the biggest annual get-together for the mobile telecommunications industry.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

HTC One M9 revealed ahead of official launch

Martyn Williams, IDGNS HTC’s new flagship Android smartphone, the One M9, has been revealed by a U.S. retailer hours before its expected launch at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.Best Buy is listing a 32GB version of the handset for use on AT&T’s 4G LTE network in the U.S. for US$650.It says the phone is based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor running at 2GHz and Google’s Android 5.0 operating system, popularly known as “Lollipop.” It has a 5-inch screen with 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution, a 20-megapixel front-facing camera and a 4-megapixel rear camera.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Acer’s new low-cost handset will be upgradeable to Windows 10

Acer is getting a head-start on Windows 10, releasing a new smartphone that comes with Windows Phone 8.1 but which it promises will be upgradeable to the new OS when it arrives later this year.Called the Liquid M220, it’s priced from €79 (US$89) and will go on sale in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Acer couldn’t immediately say if it will be sold in the U.S., but it’s been focussing on EMEA lately for its mobiles and wearables.It is one of many low-cost phones Acer is announcing at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The others run Android.The M220 has a 4-inch screen, which is similar to other low-cost Windows handsets like the Lumia 435 and Lumia 512. It has a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front camera, and comes with a bevy of Microsoft apps including Cortana and OneDrive.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Personal data on 50,000 Uber drivers exposed in breach

The names and license plate numbers of about 50,000 Uber drivers were compromised in a security breach last year, the company revealed Friday.Uber discovered a possible breach of its systems in September, and a subsequent investigation revealed an unauthorized third party had accessed one of its databases four months earlier, the company said.The files accessed held the names and license plate numbers of about 50,000 current and former drivers, which Uber described as a “small percentage” of the total. About 21,000 of the affected drivers are in California. The company has several hundred thousand drivers altogether.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

With expansion into West Africa, VMK ignites Africa-designed brands competition

By opening its first store in the Ivory Coast, VMK, based in the Republic of the Congo, is taking a big step in its expansion plans and potentially setting up a designed-in-Africa brand competition with RLG.VMK has up to now offered products manufactured in China but has plans to start making phones in Africa. RLG, which has global headquarters in Dubai, runs its West African phone-assembling operation from Ghana.VMK’s move into West Africa from its Central Africa base in Brazzaville coincided with the Ivory Coast’s launch of a project aimed at equipping 500,000 families with a computer or a tablet, plus an Internet broadband connection.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Apple Watch will start your car one day, Tim Cook says

While we count down the days until the Apple Watch is (presumably) revealed at Apple’s “Spring forward” event March 9, more details about the much-anticipated wearable continue to dribble out. For instance, the smartwatch was designed to be able to replace your car keys—though it’s unlikely that functionality will be turned on at launch. Apple CEO Tim Cook told The Telegraph that when it ships, Apple Watch will let you filter messages, give you credits for meeting exercise goals, and accompany you in the shower. Cook also said the battery life will last all day and will take less time to charge than the iPhone using the new MagSafe-style wireless inductive charger. It’s unclear exactly how long the battery will last—recent reports indicate Apple is aiming for 19 hours of combined active and passive usage—or how long it will take to charge, but we’ll find out soon.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Smartphones charge in a minute with bio-battery

Better batteries? In the words of one Reddit user: "OMG, not this again."But wait, there's more, as the expression goes. There's a reason that new battery technology piques our interest whenever we hear about it. Batteries are the last insurmountable hindrance to the seductive idea of total nomadism and blissful un-tethered freedom.Murphy's LawBatteries are one technology that haven't really seen a Moore's law-esque periodic doubling of capacity. Moore's law says that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles about every two years.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Samsung and HTC have a lot to prove with Sunday smartphone launches

Samsung Electronics and HTC are going head to head on Sunday with almost simultaneous launches of new flagship smartphones. Both companies have a lot to prove, but for different reasons.“Samsung is fighting for its credibility and HTC for its survival,” said Neil Mawston , executive director at market research company Strategy Analytics, speaking of the duelling events ahead of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.Mawston thinks Samsung’s critics have been a bit too harsh on the company. Despite the shortcomings of the Galaxy S5, it was the second-best-selling phone last year, beaten only by the iPhone 5S. However, the S5 wasn’t able to live up to expectations, and Samsung is now under pressure to launch something special.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here